ADHD stands for; Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It can affect both children and adults and shows through their behaviours. For example, people with ADHD may seem restless, with trouble concentrating and can sometimes act on impulse. We will look at symptoms in more details shortly.
Most people with ADHD are diagnosed between the ages of 6 and 12-years-old; but what sort of symptoms do people with ADHD tend to show?
Symptoms can be categorised into two types of behavioural problems.
– Hyperactivity and Impulsiveness
Some people may only have problems with inattentiveness and not with hyperactivity/impulsiveness. This type of ADHD is more commonly known as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). This form can often go unnoticed as the symptoms are much less obvious to those around them.
Symptoms in children and teenagers are much more established than in adults and are usually picked up on before the age of six.
Inattentiveness can consist of the following:
- Short attention span; easily distracted.
- Careless mistakes – Often showing in school work.
- Appear to be forgetful or often losing things.
- Unable to stay on task, especially if it is tedious or time-consuming.
- Appear unable to listen to, or carry out instructions.
- Constantly changing activities and tasks, as they can only focus on one thing for a short space of time.
- Difficulty with being organised.
Hyperactivity/Impulsiveness may consist of the following
- Being unable to sit still, especially in calm and quiet environments.
- Constant fidgeting.
- Unable to concentrate on tasks.
- Excessive physical movements.
- Excessive talking.
- Unable to wait their turn.
- Acting without thinking.
- Interrupting conversations.
- Little to no sense of danger.
These symptoms can have a large impact on the individuals day-to-day life. For example, they may underachieve in academic settings, have poor communication skills with other children and adults and problems with discipline.
People with ADHD may also show signs of other health concerns, such as:
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) – Issues with people in positions of power (teachers, parents, authority figures)
- Conduct Disorder (Being drawn to ‘rule breaking’ behaviours such as theft and violence)
- Personality Disorders (more prevalent in adults)
- Bipolar Disorder (more prevalent in adults)
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (more prevalent in adults)
- Learning Difficulties
There is a lack of research into adults with ADHD. Studies show that by the age of 25, an estimated 15% of people diagnosed with ADHD still have a full range of symptoms. Whereas 65% still have some symptoms that affect them on a day-to-day basis.
There is no definitive cause for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, however there are factors that may contribute to the likelihood of it’s development:
- Genetics – It is believes that ADHD tends to run in the family. However this is complex is not likely to be the result of a singular genetic fault.
- Brain Function and Structure – Some studies have found that ADHD may be linked to areas of the brain that are smaller or larger in size compared to those without ADHD. Other studies have found that those with ADHD may have an imbalance in the level of neurotransmitters in the brain, or that their chemicals do not work properly.
- Being born prematurely (before 37 weeks) or being born with a low birth weight.
- Having epilepsy.
- Experiencing brain damage, either in the womb or as a result of a direct injury.
There are medications that can help with the symptoms of ADHD. Although there is no direct cure, these medications can help to make the condition more manageable throughout their day-to-day life.
They can help to improve concentration and to be less impulsive as well as helping them to feel more calm, which as a result can help them to learn new skills.
Some medications need to be taken on a daily basis, whereas others may only need to be taken during school days. Often with ADHD medications, your GP will encourage breaks, so that they can assess if the medications are working and/or if they are still needed.
If you would like more information regards ADHD, you can take a look at the following resources: